It’s almost time to horse around at the Enumclaw Pro Rodeo — but for the event to be successful, the nonprofit needs more volunteers to help out.
“The hardest part is finding volunteers,” said Jim Luty, vice president of rodeo operations.
Luty, who helped start the rodeo in 2012, said he needs at least 25 volunteers a night — 75 total — in order for things to go smoothly.
Ideally, though, he prefers closer to 150, so that volunteers can take breaks and enjoy the rodeo.
“The way it is now, as of today, we couldn’t even do that,” he said in a recent interview. “We barely have enough to put at the gate, and they’d have to stay there the whole five hours.”
As of Aug. 17, the rodeo had 25 volunteers scheduled for Friday, but only eight on Saturday and 15 on Sunday.
Volunteer positions include selling tickets, handing out wristbands, checking people at the gate (not security — the rodeo pays for professionals), and feeding athletes and sponsors at the hospitality tent.
If you want to learn more about the gig, the Pro Rodeo is also hosting two volunteer information sessions at the Expo Center arena on Aug. 23 and 25, starting at 7 p.m.
The Pro Rodeo began as a way to financially support local 4-H programs, since King County had announced it couldn’t afford to that year, Luty said.
The first rodeo, he continued, didn’t make any money — but it all worked out, because the county found funds for 4-H programs anyway.
But since then, the rodeo’s growth has been “amazing… our first years, on Saturday night, we were counting tickets to see if we were going to have enough money to pay for the rodeo,” Luty continued. “We’re to the point now that this year’s rodeo is already paid off, so we’re a year ahead.”
The rodeo has given roughly $80,000 to local youth programs like 4-H, FFA, and local Unified Sports programs through school districts since its inception. In fact, many volunteers are from these local programs, and the rodeo often compensates them with a donation, Luty added.
FOR ATTENDEES — SCALPERS AND BACKPACK FOOD DRIVE
If you’re just attending the rodeo, Luty said to watch out for overpriced rodeo tickets.
In short, some legitimate organizations buy up rodeo tickets for $25, and then turns around to sell them at double or triple the price.
“If you pay more than$25 a ticket, you’re paying too much — you need to go to our website,” Luty said. “Don’t get scammed.”
Finally, the Rainier Foothills Wellness Foundation is holding a food drive for its Weekend Backpack program, which provides more than 200 local students with food over the weekend. Preferred items include boxed or canned entrees, oatmeal packs, tuna, and granola bars or other similar snacks.